Without a Hero

Without a Hero

by T. C. Boyle
     
 

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T.C. Boyle was first feted as a master of the short story for his critically acclaimed Greasy Lake. With these stories applauded by People magazine as "wickedly comical," he displays once again a virtuosity and versatility rare in literary America today. Without a Hero zooms in on American phenomena such as a center for the treatment of

Overview

T.C. Boyle was first feted as a master of the short story for his critically acclaimed Greasy Lake. With these stories applauded by People magazine as "wickedly comical," he displays once again a virtuosity and versatility rare in literary America today. Without a Hero zooms in on American phenomena such as a center for the treatment of acquisitive disorders; a couple in search of the last toads on earth; and a real estate wonder boy on a dude safari near convenient Bakerfield, California.

Sharp, guileful, and malevolently funny, Boyle's stories are "more than funny, better than wicked," says The Philadelphia Inquirer. "They make you cringe with their clarity."

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Most effective of the 16 technically ingenious and rudely funny, satirical stories in Boyle's fourth collection are the sketches of disaffected individuals who take refuge in hermetic surroundings, self-help programs, political causes and conspicuous consumption to hold at bay the banal world of convention and compromise. In ``Big Game,'' Bernard Puff, impressario of Puff's African Game Ranch in Bakersfield, Calif., peddles a simulacrum of the African bush. His carefully nurtured fantasy world is punctured by the arrival of a cynical young real estate mogul who detects ``every crack in the plaster,'' and whose rapacious hunting leads to a grisly twist of fate when the animals revolt on the veldt. In ``Filthy with Things,'' a pathological couple whose home is sinking under the weight of their ``collectibles'' enlists the services of an evangelical professional organizer who banishes them to a ``nonacquisitive environment'' while she takes inventory of their astounding clutter (``three hundred and nine bookends, forty-seven rocking chairs and over two thousand plates, cups and saucers''). Other poignant tales tell of an ephemeral romance between a Russian and an American, the introduction of anti-drug rhetoric in a suburban grade school and the experience of growing up in postwar suburbia, a world Boyle regards with anxiety, nostalgia and a properly grim sense of humor. (May)
Library Journal
In the title story of Boyle's fourth collection of short fiction, a Southern California swinger hopes to impress a beautiful Russian immigrant with a taste of the good life, only to find himself outclassed by her mastery of consumer culture. In ``Filthy with Things,'' a yuppie couple is forced to seek professional help for an ``aggregation disorder'' that has turned their suburban home into a warehouse of antiques and collectibles. The narrator of ``Beat,'' another wonderful tale, recalls drinking Mogen David wine and listening to Bing Crosby records with Kerouac and Memere one Christmas in the 1950s. Boyle's unique brand of satire avoids the moral indignation that often characterizes the genre. Here, humans are the hapless dupes of their own possessions. An upcoming film version of Boyle's novel The Road to Wellville ( LJ 3/15/93) should create a demand for this writer's work. Recommended for most fiction collections.-- Edward B. St. John, Loyola Law Sch. Lib., Los Angeles

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140178395
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/28/1995
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
5.07(w) x 7.60(h) x 0.55(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

T. C. Boyle is the author of eleven novels, including World's End (winner of the PEN/FaulknerAward), Drop City (a New York Times bestseller and finalist for the National Book Award), and The Inner Circle. His most recent story collections are Tooth and Claw and The Human Fly and Other Stories.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Santa Barbara California
Date of Birth:
December 2, 1948
Place of Birth:
Peekskill, New York
Education:
B.A. in music, State University of New York at Potsdam, 1970; Ph.D. in literature, Iowa University, 1977
Website:
http://www.tcboyle.com/

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